On my ferry ride home, I always get up from my seat and walk towards the exit when I hear the engines start to decelerate. This deceleration from full-throttle tells me that we have another 5 or so minutes before we dock. I like to spend the last couple of minutes near the stern of the boat when I can see the wake and take in the fresh air. I never get tired of it, the same way that the Golden Gate Bridge or looking up at Table Mountain in Cape Town never gets old to me. I like to think that I get used to my commute home on the ferry, but I never get tired of it.
Every time we dock, there’s a critical moment when the crew member throws the rope from the ferry and loops the stern line around the dock bollard. If he misses the throw, then it’ll waste time, and the ferry may have to reverse for a do-over. The commuters are antsy to get off the boat and are already crowding the gate like little penguins, so it’s a high-pressure move. I always watch this short performance to see if he can nail it on his first throw. Today the ferry was booking it and came in pretty fast with the wind behind us. We were further away from the dock than usual, so the throw was going to be interesting. The crew member was a young kid who was probably about 18 years old. He lined up the throw and nailed it perfectly. In basketball, they would complement a throw like this with ‘nothing but net.’ None of the penguins noticed, but I did. Flawless execution. He looked back and smiled at me. The ferry docked, and the dam burst as the workers filed off the boat. As I walked off the plank, I glanced at the kid, and he gave me another smile. We both nodded, and I was off.